Padiham neighbours foil hooded gang’s burglary bid

A HOODED gang who raided a mechanic’s home late at night have all been locked up.

Tuesday, 24th May 2011, 12:05 pm

Burnley Crown Court heard how the trio - Martyn Dwyer, Russell Stansfield and Mary McCamon - turned up at the property in a new Renault Megane courtesy car, taking with them latex gloves.

But they hadn’t reckoned on three eagle-eyed neighbours, who were watching their every move. Two of the residents alerted police and victim Anthony Bridge.

Dwyer and Stansfield were challenged in the street and tried to make off in the vehicle with a £500 haul of tools. The pair, who had abandoned McCamon, were stopped by officers and most of the loot recovered.

Father-of-two Dwyer (25), of Hallam Road, Nelson, and Stansfield (35), of New Market Street, Colne, who has a nine-month-old baby, were each jailed for a year.

McCamon (20), of West Street, Nelson, was sent to detention for 40 weeks. All admitted the burglary last December 7th, and McCamon also admitted a separate house burglary last August 15th.

As they were led from the dock, a judge praised the neighbours – Elaine Murphy, Kathryn Hughes and Craig Devlin – for their “commendable and very public-spirited behaviour” which led to the defendants being caught. He awarded each £200 from public funds.

Mr Mark Lamberty (prosecuting) said Mr Bridge was out when Mrs Murphy saw a car pull up and two hooded men, dressed in black, in front of his Padiham home. They shone torches, were looking at the door and put on gloves. The door was kicked in and the two men and a woman went in.

The woman, who appeared to be drunk, walked off up the street. At that point Mr Bridge arrived, together with the police, and she was arrested.

Mr Devlin challenged the men, who left, leaving McCamon. Mrs Murphy and Ms Hughes had both rung the victim and the police.

Mr Lamberty said Mr Bridge found his home had been ransacked and property laid out ready to be taken.

McCamon claimed Mr Bridge owed £30 to one of them and Stansfield, who got the courtesy car after his own had gone in for repair, made no comment. The hearing was told if the vehicle had been his own, it could have been confiscated.

Mr Mark Stuart, for McCamon, said she had been vulnerable after the death of her partner. She was addicted to drugs, drinking too much, depressed and ended up looking emaciated. She needed a structured programme to help. He continued: “She is a completely different woman from the woman who committed the offences.”

For Dwyer, Miss Katie Jones said he had trying to raise money to buy drugs. He had no convictions for house burglary.

Mr Simon Gurney, defending Stansfield, said the purpose of going to Mr Bridge’s house was to recover a debt and, when he was out, the trio took the matter into their own hands.